For years I’ve seen photos of City of Rocks in southern
New Mexico, and it was on my list of places to visit – eventually.
“Eventually” found itself knocking on my door during a recent trip to Silver City, and so it was that I travelled with a group of friends to finally see this state park in the southern part of our state.
The landscape surrounding City of Rocks is flat, grassy, and wide-open. Ranch land is dotted with a house or outbuilding here and there, but mainly it is just horizon for as far as the eye can see.
But top the hill, and there it is – a collection of massive boulders and rocks dotting the landscape, as if a burst of wind in some long-ago era picked them up and dropped them out in the middle of nowhere.
With surprisingly modern facilities in the campgound, City of Rocks offers pit toilets near several picnic sites as well. We pull our vehicles into the pull-off near one picnic area and carry snacks to the nearby table while the kids take off to explore. Thunder clouds loom in the distance, so we tell them to not go far.
Their laughter and calls to each other echo between the rocks like mini-canyons, and soon the kids are competing to see who can climb the tallest rock. The little ones are helped up by their older siblings, and I am happy for a few minutes of relaxation under a shade tree.
As the clouds grow closer, sheets are rain sweep through the sky like broad strokes of a paint brush. We decide it’s time to reign the kids back in before everyone is soaked. We scramble through the rocks, squeezing between mini-slot canyons which open up to even more boulders. I finally spy a couple of our party perched high atop one of the tallest rocks in this small park.
We find the little ones before the rain hits, but some of the older kids cavort in the downpour, with their small hoodies lifted above their heads in a lame attempt to escape the rain. Soaked to the bone, they huddle together in our vehicles, and within a few short minutes the rain has passed, moving on to drop some precious moisture on pastureland beyond the park. We stay long enough to dry out and then head back before night falls.
As we drive away, a double rainbow envelopes City of Rocks.